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New Autar of the Indian National Congress

47 year old Rahul Gandhi is the sixth member of the Nehru- Gandhi family who took over as the President of the Congress party on December 16-2017 in New Delhi. He succeeded his mother Sonia Gandhi, the longest serving president of the nearly 131 year old party. No doubt Rahul Gandhi's coronation as party president is a momentous event. In present scenario of the country a lot of challenges are ahead of him. It is hoped that like his maternal grandfather Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, he would also leave no stone unturned to steer the country towards the path of progress, prosperity and peace by doing away with all sort of prejudiced thoughts, communal feelings, biased attitudes and nefarious designs.
In his very first speech as new Congress president, Rahul lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP saying, "The Congress took India to the 21st century, but the PM today is taking us back to the medieval times when people are butchered because of who they are, beaten for what they believe and killed for what they eat. They (BJP) crush voices but we allow them to speak. This ugly violence shames us in the world."
"Today, the BJP people are trying to spread fire and violence in the entire country and only the force of lovable Congress workers and leaders can stop them. They break, we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it. They get angry, we love. This is the difference between them and us," said Rahul, targeting the BJP even as Sonia watched him from the stage and his sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra from the audience.
"Once you ignite fire in the country, it will be very difficult to douse it," he said adding this was exactly what they were trying to make BJP leaders understand. Not stopping at that, Rahul further took aim at Modi. "No amount of hugs can repair the damage done to this great country of ours," he said in an apparent reference to the PM's way of greeting world leaders.
He said the PM believed that his was the voice of reason whereas even expertise, experience and knowledge could be cast aside for personal glory. "That it is acceptable for our foreign policy to lie in tatters so that one man can feel strong, and that everything in fact is subservient to the leader's personal image," said Rahul, who faces the challenge of leading the Congress in Assembly elections in over a dozen States in the run-up to the 2019 LokSabha polls.
Knowing the challenges at hand, he asked the Congress workers to connect with people of the country, assured them "you all are mine" and exhorted the youth to transform India's "Grand Old Party" into a "Grand Old and Young Party".
On her part, delivering her last speech as the outgoing president, Sonia initiated the attack on the BJP saying there is an atmosphere of fear in the country since 2014 and that the constitutional values are being attacked. She said the party will not succumb to such pressure and will bounce back.
"Rahul is my son and I don't feel it is appropriate that I praise him but I will definitely say that since childhood he has faced the agony inflicted by violence. In his political life, he faced vicious personal attacks which have made him more fearless. I am proud of his endurance and determination. I am fully confident that he will lead the party with courage and dedication," Sonia said, addressing the event wherein Rahul was handed over the certificate of election as Congress president.
Sonia said the party should set its house in order and be ready for any sacrifice to stop the communal forces in the country. Congratulating Rahul, she said personal attacks on her son have made him more stronger and voiced confidence that the young leadership will infuse new vigour in the party. Sonia, who headed the Congress for the last 19 years, thanked party leaders and workers for the support she received during her tenure as its chief. She said the country was facing "unprecedented challenges", but stressed that the party was not going to be scared. "The Congress should introspect and move forward and stand by its values.... It is a moral battle, we have to set our house in order and be ready for the fight and to make any sacrifice," she said. Striking a personal note, she said she was proud of her son's endurance and determination.
In his brief address during Rahul's coronation, the former PM described the day as "unique" in the party's history and said the new Congress president's leadership brings a new sense of dedication and commitment which will steer the party to greater heights of glory.
He also took the opportunity to praise the outgoing Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for her "powerful and magnificent" leadership to the party. Maintaining that certain "disturbing trends" are noticeable in the country's polity and the people depended on Rahul Gandhi to transform it, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the new Congress chief will sustain the "politics of hope" which is needed by the country and will not allow the "politics of fear" to take over. "Rahul today is taking over as the president of the party at a time when there are certain disturbing trends noticeable in our polity. As a distinguished academic pointed out a few days ago, there are dangers that the "politics of fear' will take over from the politics of hope," he said, indirectly referring to the BJP.
"Rahul, we depend upon you to transform that area..that fear of politics will transform, to sustain the politics of hope, which this country needs," Singh said adding the country is still faced with problems like poverty, ignorance and disease with millions still afflicted with them.
Singh expressed the hope that Rahul, who has travelled all over the country, knows the problems first hand and under his leadership the party will scale new heights of glory.

Obaidur Rahman Nadwi
Lecturer, Nadwa College
Tagore Marg, Lucknow- 7

Report Source : Obaidur Rahman Nadwi